EXECUTIVES of the Social Democratic and Liberal Party (SODELPA) and the newly-formed People's Democratic Party (PDP) met the Pacific Island Forum's Ministerial Contact Group last week.
The executives submitted a comprehensive report to the group regarding issues affecting their respective parties and their views on the upcoming general election. SODELPA was represented by senior executive Dr Tupeni Baba while PDP was represented by interim president Adi Sivia Qoro.
Below are excerpts from submissions by the two political parties.
* The Electoral Commission should be independent and have total control of running the operations of holding elections;
* With Fiji having a lot of islands, mountainous ranges and a vast sea area, it would be difficult for government to be able to run elections smoothly;
* The Political Parties Decree was very strict on the gathering of finance for the parties and strict on the assets owned by party executives;
* Given the operations of the media, SODELPA was not given full coverage that is being given to others.
* SODELPA doubts that the Elections Office would be able to handle the logistics of the one-day elections properly;
* It is important to have independent observers such as the Commonwealth and the European Union observe the elections and be here for a few months after the elections to see the transition of the new government.
* The Electoral Commission should outline the developments made to date in terms of process and mechanisms towards national election;
* Concern at the delay of electoral regulations that spell out the rules for the election;
* The separation of powers between the Attorney-General's Office and the Electoral Commission is paramount;
* The need for voter and civic education and more focus on human rights and democracy targeting youths;
* Assistance from election observers will be necessary and required;
* Need for election security plan that is detailed and well co-ordinated.